College admissions may be a cyclical profession, but it’s never a boring one. There is a certain comfort in the progression of the recruitment cycle – fall’s campus events and college fairs, winter’s focus on and admission decisions, and the weeks of individual outreach and campus events each spring to obtain the best yield and meet enrollment goals.

But, according to the 2017 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Admissions Directors, sponsored in part by Hobsons, spring may well be the most anxiety-producing time of the year. The survey report indicates that only about one-third of admissions leaders say they meet their enrollment goals by May 1, the traditional date for admitted candidates to notify colleges of their decision to enroll.

That means two-thirds of admissions offices are working throughout the summer to track down admitted students and learn of their enrollment plans for the coming fall. These colleges may be soliciting and evaluating admission applications up until the start of fall classes, and then turning around and immediately starting to recruit the next cohort.

To meet enrollment and financial goals, many colleges have stepped up recruitment of international students. However, almost half of the survey respondents believe that the U.S. has become too dependent on these students, who are often full-pay. Additionally, there is concern that institutions are focusing too much on students from a limited set of countries.

Out-of-state students are also on the minds – if not in the recruitment plans – of many directors. That means institutions from Washington to Maine are competing with your institution for students from your own state.

Interestingly, we recently hosted two webinars that can shed some light on where your institution is already having success in recruiting, and the admission application trends for millions of students using Naviance to research and prepare for college and careers. 

  • In Data Dating See Where Your Incoming Class and the Naviance Network ‘Swiped Right,’ we demonstrated our free CEEB code analysis service, which will help visualize the presence and impact of Naviance students in your new student population.
  • Insights from the Naviance Class of 2017 examined the application and enrollment trends of 1.3 million students who used Naviance to plan their futures.

We encourage you to download and read the IHE survey, and to check out one or both of our webinars to see how our analysis can help you craft recruitment plans to address your enrollment challenges – and reduce anxiety.


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